These characteristics of the age structure should be considered in relation to the finding that some developing countries can match the share of GNP invested in education in the developed countries. This does not mean that they can match the developed countries in terms of the share of GNP spent on education per head of the school-age population. One example will suffice. Around 1965, the United Kingdom spent 6 percent of GNP on education, Ghana 5 percent. But the school-age population (5 to 19 years) was about 37 percent of the total in Ghana, 22 percent in the U.K. Therefore Britain was spending about twice as high a percentage of GNP per head of the school-age population as was Ghana.
Future Trends in Mortality and Fertility
Future trends in vital rates are always difficult to predict. Rather severe fluctuations in mortality rates due to civil unrest or famine are by no means a thing of the past, as shown by the terrible toll of the Nigerian civil war. Further steady declines in mortality are, however, in prospect throughout most of the less developed world. In some regions, particularly tropical Africa and middle south Asia, the potential reduction by means of public health programs is still great enough to add a percentage point to the rate of population growth. Such reductions will have relatively little effect on the overall age structure, since they will probably be operative at all ages, but the relative gain in reducing mortality may be greatest at the youngest ages, causing small relative gains at the lower levels of the population pyramid. For educational planning, the important consideration is the trend in infant and early childhood mortality. The expected reduction in mortality at these ages will have precisely the same implications for the educational system as a rise in fertility: an increase in numbers subsequently moving into the school-age groups.
Although fertility may rise slightly during the next few years in some less developed countries, partly because of lowered disease and death rates, the more common trend will almost certainly be downward. More parents will adjust their desired number of births downward in response to changing socioeconomic conditions and the decreased likelihood of infant death. Improved methods of contraception, expansion of family planning programs, and, probably, improvements in commercial marketing channels will make it easier for them to hold the number of children in the family down to the desired number. Thus trends in fertility and in infant mortality will, in most instances, be operating in opposite directions on the number of potential additions to the school population. At current fertility and mortality levels, the potential impact of lowered fertility in reducing the increments to the school-age population is substantially greater than that of lowered mortality in raising them, because in most cases death rates are already low while fertility remains high. The extent to which this potential will be realized willio of private expenditure to public expenditure on education varies between countries. There is unfortunately a dearth of intercountry comparative information on private expenditures on education.al-urban migration, in the multilingual character of the society, in the existence of polygamy, and